JUBA, South Sudan
South Sudan’s government has expressed disappointment with the renewal of arms embargo on the country by the UN Security Council (UNSC), and warned the action will only increase insecurity in the country.
On May 29, the UNSC adopted a resolution to run till May 31, 2021 on arms embargo, travel and financial sanction for targeted individuals in South Sudan.
The embargo is meant to deny the country of arms and other resources that would fuel crisis, according to the UNSC.
But the government has expressed disappointment over it, arguing that it will instead create insecurity.
“Our biggest problem with the arms embargo as a country is, the civilians are more armed then the government and this is a challenge as a country really, because we have been locked in we don’t access to international market,” the Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and International cooperation Deng Dau Deng told Anadolu Agency
“Even just to arm the police for them to keep law and order is a big issue to us,” he said.
Referring to the sanctions on individuals, Deng said: “It’s very difficult to those individuals who are targeted as citizens of South Sudan because even before COVID-19 they were not allowed to travel.”
“We raised this issue, we want to discuss on how to delist those who are on the sanction list.”
The council first imposed the arms embargo in 2018.
The arms embargo empowers all UN member states to prevent arms and related equipment of all types – including weapons and ammunition, military vehicles and equipment, paramilitary equipment, and any spare parts – from entering South Sudan.
On May 30, the 15-member body was also asked to provide a report by the end of October on the role of the arms embargo in implementing a 2018 peace agreement as well as providing options for developing benchmarks in South Sudan, which is emerging from a ruinous six-year civil war that left 380,000 dead and millions displaced.
The resolution extended the arms embargo and targeted sanctions until May 31, 2021, but authorized a mid-term review of the measures by Dec. 15 this year.
Russia, China, and South Africa have argued that sanctions are not conducive to promoting the peace process, so they abstained on the resolution.
US Ambassador to South Sudan Thomas Hushek said the renewal of the embargo and sanctions are a step to keeping the peace process moving forward and will only be removed when progress is seen in the peace implementation.
“I think that is an important step forward and it sets out a plan to measure progress against the peace process that will eventually lead to the lifting of those arms embargo and sanctions to make the peace processes moving forward,” Hushek said last week after he met with officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation in the South Sudanese capital Juba.
“The main thing is to keep the peace process moving forward,” Hushek insisted.
The US administration and EU have sanctions on more than 10 South Sudanese officials since 2014 for allegedly perpetuating conflict in the East African nation.
Both were accused of expanding the country’s conflict and obstructing the reconciliation process or peace talks.
South Sudan, which gained independence from Sudan in 2011, plunged into civil war in 2013 after a conflict broke out between forces loyal to President Salva Kiir and Vice President Riek Machar.
The conflict has led to a humanitarian crisis with millions of refugees forced to flee the country, as well as famines and atrocities such as rape.
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